Asia and the Middle East have helped boost red meat exports from the UK against the backdrop of Brexit and the impact of the pandemic on trade.
With UK shipments of beef, lamb and pork to the EU impacted during the first three months of 2021, markets outside the bloc have helped bolster trade.
While exports of beef to non-EU countries have dropped, shipments of pig meat, including offal, have risen in both volume and value.
According to the AHDB, this has increased 31 percent to 63,000 tonnes, worth over £110 million – up 42 percent compared to the same period last year.
Sheep exports to non-EU countries also rose 30 percent in volume and, importantly, 46 percent in value, worth £6.6 million to the sector.
Trade was particularly helped by increased demand from Asia and the Middle East – both areas of strategic growth for UK exporters.
AHDB Head of Asia Pacific Jonathan Eckley said the Far East remained a 'key market' for red meat exports from the UK following a fall in trade to the EU.
“The start of the year has been incredibly challenging for our red meat exports," Mr Eckley explained.
"While the third country demand has helped to boost trade, it hasn’t been able to offset the fall in shipments to the EU.
“However, the Asian markets have once again proven to be hugely important for our exports."
He added: "While some countries are importing smaller volumes from the UK, the overall value is increasing.
"For example Singapore, which has this year seen an 87% increase in the value of our pork shipments.”
Demand for UK pork was also evident in the Philippines with the value of shipments increasing four-fold compared to last year – bringing a £10m boost to the sector.
Exports to South Korea grew and were valued at £2.5m, shipments to South Africa saw a three-fold increase and there was a 6% rise in export volume to Ghana.
Sheep exports, including offal, to Kuwait increased ten-fold in the first three months of the year, the AHDB said.
Due to strong UK demand for British beef, exports have not grown as strong as other meats, but regions such as the Philippines have seen growth in both volume and value.